The National Human Rights Commission notes with deep concern the alleged maltreatment of Nigerians and Africans in Guangzhou and other parts of the Peoples Republic of China. Information at our disposal indicates that Nigerians and other African nationals have been singled out for forced quarantine despite undergoing an initial 14-day quarantine. Reports of ejection of Nigerians from their homes and hotels by the Chinese authorities are clearly acts of discrimination and a gross violation of human rights.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission, Tony Ojukwu Esq.
The Commission also notes with concern the reports of seizure of international passports belonging to Nigerians. This is a not only a violation of international human rights norms but one that is capable of rendering Nigerians stateless in a time of global emergency when nations are evacuating their nationals to safety. The alleged maltreatment of Nigerians during an outbreak of the COVID-19 global pandemic when nations of the world are coalescing in unprecedented acts of solidarity and commitments should be condemned in all its forms.
The Commission calls on the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to take immediate steps in reaching out to the Chinese Government to put a stop to the harassment of Nigerians, Africans and indeed any citizen of the world in the guise of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, we urge the Government of Nigeria to take all necessary steps to evacuate Nigerians willing to come home from China and other countries where they are currently at risk of discrimination or any form of racial abuse as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Commission commends the immediate actions already taken by the Nigerian Mission in China and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the intervention of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila.
The Commission in the exercise of its mandate will continue to monitor the human rights situation of Nigerians during and after the COVID-19 response.